Tag Archives: travel

Two Steps Back

Our trip back to our old stomping grounds in Toronto was all at once exciting, fun, sad, exhausting, and surreal.

IMG_3115The surreal part came when we wandered into stores or through our old school and people just smiled and nodded to us as if we’d never left. Very Rip Van Winklish.

The excitement of leaving the city for a great adventure helped us to skim over the sadness of goodbyes last year, but that sadness hit my better half like a Mack truck on this trip. It all came to a head after dinner with her best Toronto friend, when she realized we wouldn’t see her again before we left town. L absolutely lost it, howling with despair and spitting out those fearsome words “Why did we even have to move?!” and “Why didn’t you ask me if we should move?!”

IMG_3124

After the tears subsided she rallied somewhat, because she is nothing if not a trooper, but ever sinceĀ  that night she’s been a bit fragile, especially when it comes to her friends here. We just don’t have as many of them as we did in Toronto, I guess.

Plus when she gazes at the city lights she becomes rapturous. She does love the city.

IMG_3146

The Big City!

Okay, long time no post, I know. Busy busy busy! (in every good little way) So to do a little catchup here…

Beacon Hill Park!

Beacon Hill Park!

For our Spring Break, which was a luxurious 2 weeks long (we only got 1 wk in Toronto), one of our excursions was to the big smoke of Victoria for a few days. Even though our province’s capital is but a hamlet compared to the mammoth excess that is the GTA, it still feels metropolish* compared to our sleepy little island.

* trademark pending

DSC08341

This just says "70s" to me. The Royal BC Museum.

This just says “70s” to me. The Royal BC Museum.

I can’t tell you how lovely it was to be back in the bustle, waiting for the green light before crossing the street, and walking everywhere! Except for hikes or the occasional dog walk, on Saltspring we never walk anywhere! (And in Toronto we were the queens of foot power/bike power.) We enjoyed the luxury of staying in an apartment that was a short walk from all that we wanted to do, namely Beacon Hill Park, the RBCM, Imax theatre, legislative building, Miniature World, Bug Zoo… yup, we did the full tourist trip.

DSC08382 DSC08381 DSC08437 DSC08439

Oh, and did I mention going to Booster Juice? My accomplice misses her favourite smoothies something dreadful and there’s an outlet just 2 blocks from where we were staying!

The new Booster Juice poster girl.

The new Booster Juice poster girl.

Beautiful Victoria, city of flowers and totem poles!

cherry blossoms

DSC08333 DSC08393 DSC08391

Unhand that girl!

Unhand that girl!

These photos were taken mid-April, hence the jackets, but it was lovely weather. (Right now we’re digging out shorts and sandals! Wheeee!)

My girl floated about declaring that she wanted to move to Victoria and live in an apartment! Until she realized that in an apartment you’re not allowed to dance and stomp about…

So we quite enjoyed our taste of the city – we’re heading back very soon, actually.

Santa Comes to Saltspring

What a gorgeous day! We walked down to the dock at about five minutes to 1, and Santa flew in pretty much on time. The small crowd greeted him, high fives were exchanged, and we were strolling outta there by about half past one.

A little easier to take than the cold, crowded marathon event of the Santa Claus Parade in Toronto…

Northern Ontario: Camping Paradise

Everyone in B.C. thinks they’ve got some kind of monopoly on scenic beauty, but the unbelievably vast reaches of northern Ontario are pretty spectacular too.

Ontario has only one national park (Pukaskwa), but there are about 90 provincial parks scattered throughout the province. So many that it was easy to just drive until I got tired, and then locate the nearest campground and pull in. They were staggeringly easy to find, even when my brain was staggering with fatigue. Good signage, Ontario! (Beating B.C. hands down – I had a heck of a time locating an official provincial park campground in the interior… they weren’t properly marked and I just kept driving past them. I eventually had to give up and check into a motel instead.)

Nothing helped to slough off the old city skin better than a few nights of tenting, chopping wood, twilight swims, birdsong, and rustling leaves. And having all your clothes smell like smoke. Here’s our sampling of parks along our route through northern Ontario…

Fairbanks Provincial Park (west of Sudbury)

Rainbow Falls Provincial Park (near Rossport)

(large bunnies roaming fearlessly about made
the wilderness seem significantly less rugged)

Sandbar Lake Provincial Park (near Ignace) – our last night in Ontario.

Farewell to Ontario!

Step 81: Arrive Safe and Sound

Check! Weary and addled, but WE MADE IT!

Fresh off the ferry, on Salt Spring Island at last…

The boss was getting seriously fed up with posing for photos – I was getting more scowls than smiles recently – so this pic really shows how she felt about arriving and being with her beloved cousins, aunts, uncle, grandma and grandpa…

Epic road trip at an end… but still lots to do…

 

Sudbury Saturday Night

And now, a brief interlude from our voluminous collection of travel snaps…

Step 80: Always, Always Stop at Roadside Attractions

Why? Because they’re there!

Step 79: Swim Whenever You Can

This is a good rule any time, but especially when travelling.

These are the places we swam this summer (paddled, waded, splashed, etc).
Hover cursor over photo to see location.


Step 78: Drive Across Canada

That’s all. Just drive across Canada.

Pack snacks. Stay hydrated. Take pictures. Look and look and look.

Don’t be in a hurry. Don’t speed. Drive safe.

Take as circuitous route as possible. Toronto to Vancouver can be as short as

2718 miles.

We took 23 days and drove

4173 miles!*

* hooray for the Volvo!

Step 77: Escape the Funnel

As we drove away, away, ever away from Toronto, I couldn’t help but notice that for days and days Toronto kept popping up on freeway signs. Like it was lurking about, waiting for a chance to reel me back in. Just a moment’s inattention at an interchange and BAM! I’d find myself looping back towards the Big TOe.

One of my biggest complaints with Toronto has always been that it’s so hard to escape from! It takes hours just to get out of the place, through butt-ugly industrial wastelands, jostling elbow to elbow with crazed drivers weaving wildly from lane to lane. It’s gruesome. And if you ever do manage to get away for a relaxing weekend, you always have ahead of you the drive back into Toronto, which obliterates all the effects of the previous relaxation.

And yet, even when we were eight or nine hours north of the city, I still felt like, one wrong turn later, we could be right smack back in rush hour at Yonge and Bloor in just half an hour’s time.

This is what southern Ontario feels like:

Or more precisely:

I am that spinning quarter, drawn inexorably down, down into the vortex that is Toronto.